VMWare on Dell 1855 Servers

I've inherited some Dell Poweredge 1855 servers, 16gb ram per blade.

I'm thinking about installing VMWare (I have no experience with it) and consolidating down about 20-25 old servers running Win 2000 down to 4-5 blades.  

I would also like the ability to have 64 bit VM's running on this.

My questions:

1 - Does VMware play nice with the 1855
2 - Can I run 64 bit OS on VMWare on the 1855
3 - Does VMWare support RAID on the 1855 in 64 bit mode
4 - Any other points I should consider?

Let me make a few things clear:
1 - I already own the blades, so it isn't a cost benefit of this vs. that.  I've already got them.
2 - I did see another thread from early last year asking about Dell vs IBM blades and VMWare and the final outcome was an expert responded he was using IBM, but it doesn't really address my questions above.
3 - The version of VMWare I am looking at is:  VMWare vSphere Essentials
http://store.vmware.com/store/vmware/en_US/DisplayProductDetailsPage/productID.233860600

Thanks!
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drgdrgAsked:
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
1. I'm afraid the Dell PowerEdge 1855 is not listed on the VMware Hardware Compatibility List for ESX/ESXi 4.0, ESX/ESXi 4.1, or ESXi 5.0.

It's listed for ESX 3.5 U 1.

So it's unclear if the PowerEdge 1855 "will place nice with" VMware vSphere 4.0 or 5.0. It may just not have been re-tested and certified for use with VMware vSphere 4.0 or 5.0. But it's not listed so it's a risk as to whether it would work.

2. It depends on what processors are in your PowerEdge 1855, Intel Xeon (Prestonia/Gallatin) Series or Intel Xeon 70xx Series. The later is a 64 bit Processor.

3.VMware does support RAID and have RAID drivers for most Dell PERC controllers.

4. Check if there are on the HCL.

Or download a quick test evaluation for free, and install.
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celazkonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Hi,

to your questions:
1. generally, the supported hardware is in the vmware HCL:
http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php

If your system is listed, then it is an ideal situation. If it's not listed, find out what storage controller your system uses and whether the controller is in HCL.

2. if your hardware platform is 64bit, then you can run 64bit OS on the guest VM. The hypervisor (ESX 4 and later) itself is 64bit

3. it depends on the storage controller. If your controller is supported, then yea, if it is not supported, the hypervisor (ESX) will see solely disk drives instead of RAID array, unless you inject the driver for your controller into the ESX installation disk.
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I can't find that server listed in the VMware HCL. To install the VMware vSphere Hypervisor the CPU and BIOS needs to support Intel VT technologies, and I can't see any mention of that in the manuals for that server, so I don't think you'll be able to use it with VMware.

But since you have the servers available, why don't you just try installing VMware vSphere Hypervisor. If it installs and sees the array it'll work. Just make sure that if you have an option in the BIOS to enable VT for the CPU, that it is enabled. You can download the vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) for free.

ESXi is a 64bit system, and it supports 64bit guests. It doesn't even install on non 64bit systems...
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celazkonCommented:
Forgot to mention, before installing, update all the firmwares (BMC, storage, NIC etc.) and BIOS to the latest version. If the Virtualization support is not available in BIOS, it can be added in the latest version. This had allready happend to me on Intel server board.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)Connect With a Mentor VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
from the commiunities document here:-

http://communities.vmware.com/docs/DOC-11337

ESXi 4.0.1, ESXi 4.0, ESX 4.0.1, ESX 4.0, ESXi 3.5u4, ESX 3.5u4

tested.

Old blade with:
2 old Xeon (no VT support, but 64 bit support)
4 GB RAM

So from this, you may not be able to run ESXi 4.1 or later, or run 64 Guest OS on the Hyperisor.

Again it would depend on the processors in use.
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drgdrgAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all for the help.  Sounds like I may be out of luck on this setup...  Thanks
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